As mentioned at 5.45am this morning, I have been ridiculously busy of late and, thus, had nary had time to pen some digital words. Part of my hectic schedule, however, has been squeezing in some amazing shows by some of my favourite ever bands. Lucky indeed!
1. Still Flyin' @ The Troubadour, Brisbane - Friday 30 January
One of my favourite weekends from last year involved seeing the world's best good time party band, Still Flyin', play poolside in Brisbane followed by some extra shows for maximum dance value. Once again, they returned to our shores, minus a few international guests but introducing a few new visitors, to play the Laneway festival, but also managed to slot in a Friday night spot at Brisbane's favourite loungeroom.
In support, we were treated to sets by Monnone Alone (Mark from The Lucksmiths on guitar and Stanley Paulsen, aka Fred Astereo on drums, playing fun DIY garage pop songs) and Greg Brady and The Anchors (sounding wonderfully warm and polished, like how Brisbane pop sounded in the 1990s and how it should ideally sound via a new generation today, but doesn't). Once Still Flyin' hit the stage, though, the dancefloor of four pulled out some fine, sweaty dancemoves to the best hammjamm in town. The other shy shoe shufflers? You missed out. Busting out jamms from "Never Gonna Touch The Ground", their ska-etched horns, disco basslines and group chants spelt F-U-N like fun never existed. Too much fun, too much fun - it was impossible to wipe the smile off the crowd's collective face after the show.
2. Laneway Festival @ RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane - Saturday 31 January
With a new venue (space! shade! decent bathroom facilities!) and a fairly spectacular line up, I tolerated hot and sticky conditions for a wonderful festival right in my own city. Still Flyin' hit the stage early, heavy and hungover from the previous night's festivities, but still ripped out a fine set to kickstart the day.
Later on, wandering around, I took in bits and pieces of Spiral Stairs (playing the hits for all the Pavement fans craving a reunion), Born Ruffians (Vampire Weekend rip-offs, anyone?) and No Age (who will most likely spawn a whole new cast of Brisbane duos pounding out DIY garage like every other two bit noise band round town), and also observed a veritable array of awful, awful tattoos.
However, I was far too excited about the prospect of seeing Stereolab for the first time to give much regard to these other young bands. Stereolab! A band who haven't toured Australia since 2002, and who were visiting the same state the dearly departed Mary Hansen once hailed from. With great anticipation, they came on as the sun set and played something of a greatest hits, much to my disbelief. Hearing 'Lo Boob Oscillator', 'French Disko', 'Ping Pong' and 'Cybele's Reverie' live within a 45 minute space was astounding, truly magical. Has a live band ever made you feel like you've transcended into the clouds, without any chemical assistance? Laetetia Sadier's beautiful French nonchalance, coupled with Tim Gane's indie boy head nodding and the adorable new French keyboardist, Julien Gasc, was sweeter than honeycomb and softer than fairy floss. I left feeling like I never wanted to see any other band again.
Later on, I accosted the adorable keyboardist and he brought me water from backstage. Lovely!
Clearly, little could live up to Stereolab - The Hold Steady were as solid and masculine as ever, while Girl Talk elicited cheap girls on stage whilst his email-checking-laptop mash-ups sent most of the kids into a frenzy. I didn't understand it. Oh well. I had Stereolab and Still Flyin' to treasure, at least.
3. Primal Scream @ The Tivoli - Thursday 5 February
With next to no familiar faces around, I saw Primal Scream on my own. I am certain I am not the only girl to have an unspeakably large crush on Bobby Gillespie, and seeing him appear on stage, all mop-topped like a member of The Creation, wearing a slim cut suit and leopard-print shirt, was like an apparition of beauty blinding my vision. He, with his five other smartly-attired bandmates (including Martin Duffy from Felt!! and Mani!), took a moment just to show the young bands of today how it's really done - how to blast rock and roll without overt swagger, how to blast electro without layers of fluoro, and how to do ice like it's the Teutonic ice age apocalypse.
Highlights? 'Movin' On Up' was like gospel, 'Swastika Eyes' like incredibly loud militant wailing, and new tracks such as 'Can't Go Back' like a speeding car through a midnight tunnel. Oh yeah, and 'Rocks', but I'm a bit give-or-take on that one. Of course, no 'Ivy Ivy Ivy' or 'Crystal Crescent', but that was to be expected. Bobby G has my heart anyday.